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Pathophysiology of the anorexia of aging

Morley, John E.

Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care: January 2013 - Volume 16 - Issue 1 - p 27–32
doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e328359efd7
AGEING: BIOLOGY AND NUTRITION: Edited by Tommy Cederholm and John E. Morley

Purpose of review: Anorexia represents a major problem for older persons leading to weight loss, sarcopenia, functional decline, and mortality. There is increasing information on the pathophysiological mechanisms that lead to anorexia.

Recent findings: Increasing evidence has shown the importance of gastrointestinal hormones (ghrelin, cholecystokinin, and glucagon-like peptide) and adipokines in producing the anorexia of aging. Numerous neurotransmitters have been shown to be involved in this aging anorexia, but evidence in humans is lacking.

Summary: The early recognition of anorexia of aging is important to allow intervention and prevent functional deterioration in older persons. Screening tests for anorexia have been developed. New approaches to managing anorexia are being tested.

Division of Geriatric Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, St Louis, Missouri, USA

Correspondence to John E. Morley, MB, BCh, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 S. Grand Blvd., M238 St Louis, MO 63104, USA. Tel: +1 314 977 8462; e-mail: morley@slu.edu

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.